Wightlink Islanders skipper Nick Simmons successfully defended the Bronze helmet last night at Smallbrook against the visitors challenger Adam Allott. Referee Christina Turnbull pulled the race back after a jump start by Allott who in the re-run again had the drop on Simmons who then rounded Allott out of the 4th turn first lap to remain the holder of the Bronze Helmet in front of a huge Smallbrook crowd.
Simmons said, “The Bronze Helmet is cool, after winning away from home I really wanted to successfully defend it at home. Adam is a fast starter and fast when he’s out. He out gated me and I just got a good run and I’m really, really pleased to hold onto it, hopefully I can hold on until the end of the year, I’m over the moon.”
The main meeting began with the Hitmen taking an advantage, Allott gaining revenge over Simmons this time out with former Islander Dean Felton tucking in for 3rd place. Heat 2 was awarded after both Hitmen fell in separate incidents putting the Islanders 2 points in front with a 5-1. Paul Burnett fell 3rd turn 1st lap while Ryan Blacklock not to outdone does the same the following lap before he fell again on the first turn of the 3rd lap.
Another Islanders heat advantage in heat 3 with Danny Warwick way out front and untroubled while Rob Smith who crashed heavily at Stoke on Sunday struggled for a point and shortly after the race pulled out of the meeting. Luke Chessell was quick away from the start in heat 4, Robert Branford took the opportunity to hit the front early on while Paul Starke rounded Chessell on the 2nd lap.
Allott was well away in heat 5 Warwick could make no in roads from 2nd with Felton 3rd while Mullins fell and retired on the 1st lap. The scores went back and forth with both teams trading heat advantages at this stage of the meeting. It was the Islanders turn in heat 6 after Branford took an early lead only for a determined ride by Simmons to chase him down and pass round the outside of turns 3 and 4 to only suffer a puncture after crossing the finish line.
The Hitmen gated into the lead in heat 7, with Starke also in determined mood passing Taylor around the outside of turn 1 on the 3rd lap and goes off in chase of Priest. The Islanders pair almost collide on the 3rd bend in heat 8 and Cottham passes Chessell to grab a 5-1 advantage and stick 6 points between the sides at the halfway stage.
Warwick won his second race of the night while Branford and Burnett fill the minor places after Chessell crashes out from 3rd place. Another heat advantage put the Islanders 8 up with Simmons chasing down the whole field after locking up. Past Cottham first followed by Taylor and then Priest on the 4th turn of the 3rd lap while Cottham held off Taylor to grab a point in a cracking race.
Starke takes heat 11 pushed all the way by Allott with a share of the points, while Priest take the advantage in heat 12 but Warwick was just unable to make a pass for another shared heat and 8 points between the sides. The Hitmen gated in heat 13 keeping Simmons on the inside while Starke takes the lead around the outside, with Simmons taking Branford for 3rd place putting the Islanders 10 up.
Buxton team manager Jack Lee introduced Taylor as a tactical ride for double points and at this stage he had only scored a single point from his 3 rides. But Taylor swept past Chessell who had taken the early lead. The meeting was won for the Islanders but the league points were still to be settled in the final heat.
Allott and Simmons were neck and neck along the back straight of the first lap, Allott had the edge into turn 3 and Simmons fell allowing the Hitman to race off untroubled while Starke grabbed 2nd from Priest. The Hitmen gain a league point for their troubles which Islanders team manager and co-promoter wasn’t too happy about after the meeting.
Hunt said, “It a win but right this moment in time it doesn’t feel like it, we should of had 3 points tonight and nothing less really, it’s very, very disappointing. It felt like we lost really in the last heat. We were up against it again losing Rob after one race, it’s frustrating when riders say they are fit, maybe they think they are fit but if Rob was in any doubt we would of been better to use rider replacement. It’s just one of those things if a rider thinks he’s fit you have to trust his judgement, but it just puts us on the back foot all the time.”
“I been up against it with a broken clamp and rubber on my exhaust and a puncture. Then I did that one cool race when I went from last to first which was real cool, I’m extremely happy with that. Heat 15 I wasn’t trying to put a move on when I crashed I just found myself in that position where I had to get out of it or we were both going to have a big crash, unfortunately that’s the way it goes. It was disappointing as we only needed a 3-3,” added Simmons.
“Mildenhall is going to be a mammoth task for us next week, if we’re going to do it they have to up their game and tray and prove that they are worth a team place next year,” concluded Hunt.
Also at Smallbrook tomorrow (Thursday 13th) will be the Southern Track Riders taking centre stage. Riders from the amateur scene will be taking to the Island shale at the slightly earlier time of 7.00pm.
Mildenhall return to the Island in National league action together with legendary Kiwi, holder of 15 world titles Ivan Mauger who visit Smallbrook next Tuesday (16th August). Mauger has published his autobiography, ‘The Will To Win’, this will be on sale ahead of the Islander’s National League match that evening. Mauger will also be available to sign his autobiography as well as posing for photographs as part of his UK tour.